Surprises are for Birthdays

What I mean by that is: I don’t like being around things that make sharp, jerky movements. The kind that winged creatures make. So, I made it my mission in life to expel the bat from my house.


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There’s only room for one of us in here. I pay the mortgage, so you gotta go.


One evening, I had arrived home after dark. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark shape gliding around the living room. I hoped it was a bird that somehow made it down the chimney. It disappeared, so I binge-watched The Sopranos, and fell asleep on the couch. The next morning, I walked into the bedroom and saw a dark shape silhouetted on the window shade.


Oh shit. It’s not a bird.


Grabbing an empty coffee can, and using all my military training in stealth, I crept up to the trespasser. I used the can to cover the rat with wings and slid him to the window. He made a couple of “eek” sounds and flopped onto the roof.


Finish your nap out there and stay out.


Of course, it came back in the next night. And the night after that.


I know what you’re thinking: get a tennis racket. Terminate. With extreme prejudice. The problem with that is I’m not too quick on my feet. Plus, I take my contacts out at night. Without them, I’m blind as a….you know what I mean.


So, I went online and found a contraption like this: It’s a device that emits a sonic middle finger to the bat. They can’t stand the noise.


Really? Did they ask the bats? Was there a controlled experiment?


I plugged it in and waited for the Big Showdown. I didn’t see the bat for 2 nights. On the third night, he returned. He was one pissed off sumbitch…This time, when he flew around the room, he was much lower to the floor. Then he began a strafing run. On me.


I grabbed the blankets and took cover. The varmint landed on my cowering form and crawled along my entire length.


Oh, shit. It’s escalated. He’s got me pinned down!


I’ve got a WHOLE new set of issues. We can forget about Iraq for a while…


Then, he disappeared. The exorcism worked!


A few days later, I got a call from my father: there was a bat in his house. Could I come down and help him get rid of it? Like I suddenly was an expert.


My parents’ house is a duplex. A single door connects the two halves. Me and Dad cleared one part, and told my mother to stay on that side, and under no circumstances was she to open the door. She was more than happy to keep it shut. She’s terrified of bats.


I was armed with a fishing net, and Dad had a tennis racket. No Man’s Land was dark; they hadn’t turned on the lights before The Invasion. There was total silence. Nothing.


Dad: “I think the bat’s gone.”


Me: “You know, I think you’re right.”


Mom (in her sanctuary): “YOU DIRTY #$!&% THING!!!”


Dad: “Um, nope.”


We chased that bat all over Hell’s Half Acre but couldn’t hit him. Eventually, he got tired and holed up somewhere, resting up for the next night. I went online and tried to find the sonic bat repeller that I had. They were out of stock, and so I bought them a cheaper model.


The bat invited his friends over to laugh at it. They were probably in the corner:


“He thinks it’s me!”


“No, no! He thinks it’s me!”


The next week, my cousin Mike drove in from Michigan and stayed with my parents. Sure enough, the bat came out to play that night. Mike and my father had the bat cornered in the bathroom. As it tried to escape, it got too close to Dad and bit him on the hand. Not cool.


Mike grabbed the tennis racket and hit the bat with an overhead smash that would put Pete Sampras to shame. The carcass actually broke the screen door on its way to the front lawn.


Game, set, match.


Michigan Mike: 1


Bat: 0


Lesson learned: Don’t “F” with Detroit


Postscript: Dad’s hand didn’t get infected, but we had to send the dead bat to the New York State Health Department to find out if it was rabid. They tested the bat’s head. The diagnosis: My father didn’t have rabies, and if they hadn’t cut the bat’s head off, it probably would have survived. Or something like that.


Fast forward about 8 years: I was in bed one night, and I kept hearing a kind of squeak or sharp chirp. At first, I thought it was the smoke detector low battery alert. I went looking for the source. By this time, I’d had a couple shots of Scotch, and my contact lenses were out. There was a dark shape on the bathroom floor, but I couldn’t make out what it was. And then it moved, and I began to sober up.


Not again!


I had a flight at 6 the next morning, and I needed my sleep. So, I went downstairs and barricaded myself in my office and shut the door. There was a very small gap under the door, but I figured that it wasn’t big enough for Shithead to squeeze through. I fell asleep on the carpet.


Then I was suddenly wide awake. My sixth sense told me that something was wrong. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a gray shape near the door. I told myself that it was a dust ball. Then it moved. That little shit had made it under the door. 1400 square feet of house, and the bat finds me hiding out in my bunker!


I’d been targeted; this was Mother Nature’s version of a drone strike.


I phoned my sister. She’s a homemaker extraordinaire and has watched every episode of HGTV. I figured she would know what to do. And I was right. She’s now referred to as “The Bat Whisperer.”


(Bookmark this blog post so you’ll know what to do if you find yourself in this predicament. I’m here to help).


She told me to open the front door and point a large fan toward it. Turn off all the lights and get as close to the floor as possible (again, I got to use my military experience). The bat would follow the air current out the door.


But first, I had to make a break for it. The drone was circling around my office, and the door was shut. I got into a crouch and made for the office door. Yanking it open, I tried to run out of the room. The blankets were under my feet and I tripped, performing a perfect Triple Salchow into the living room wall.


I hate this movie…


Catching my breath, I grabbed the fan, turned it on, and pulled open the front door. The bat kept circling around but got no closer to the exit. By this time, I figured that I had the only bat that was born without sonar.


And then, I watched it glide past me out into the night. It worked! There were no bats or humans harmed during this operation.


As I write this, the sale of my house is pending, and I’ll be out of here within 2 or 3 weeks. With the warmer weather, there’s a very good chance that the bat will show himself to the new owners.


Another item on a long list of things that are not my problem.

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